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Play Benny Goodman-Volume One by The International Allstars

The best tribute to a jazz master is not slavish imitation but recognizing his spirit. That's what the "Allstars" deliver in this hard-driving live recording from a Hamburg club in 1995, no doubt because the "Allstars" are Ken Peplowski and friends. Master clarinetist Peplowski is steeped in swing. He was in the reed section of Buddy Morrow's Tommy Dorsey ghost band and also in BG's last orchestra. However his musical tastes go beyond that to include Trane, Ornette and his own contemporaries. Check out his "A Good Reed" on Concord where he explores the boundaries of improvisation.

The current CD will take you back to when swing was king and does it ever swing! The rhythm section is right at home in that era whether burnin' ("You," "Limehouse") or swingin' easy ('Did I Remember," "New Kind of Love"). Guitarist Alden is superb, fiery on "Limehouse" and sensitive on "Stardust" while "Love is Here to Stay" is a vibes feature for Lars Erstrand. Peplowski's nimble clarinet is a presence as always and he also picks up his tenor for "New Kind of Love." Towards the end of the set, two more clarinetists drop in- Allan Vaché from Florida and Bob Wilber's Finnish protege, Antti Sarpila. They are showcased individually in a Goodman medley and then all three just fly through "After You've Gone." That by itself would make the night in Hamburg one to remember.

A typical "tribute" album will have you wondering wondering why you don't just listen to the original instead of the clone. This CD, in Peplowski's words "a group of like-minded friends reminiscing in tempo," will make you want to hear more from Ken and company. And remember, this is Volume One!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: The International Allstars
  • CD Title: Play Benny Goodman-Volume One
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 1996
  • Record Label: Nagel-Heyer records
  • Musicians: Ken Peplowski cl,ts / Lars Erstrand vib / Howard Alden g / Mark Shane p /Len Skeat b /Joe Ascione dr plus Antti Sarpila cl / Allan Vaché cl
  • Rating: Five Stars
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